Reliable Asset World III Recap: Day 2

May 13th, 2016

Ron Bitely, Arizona Chemical: Intro and Keynote – What is Your North Star?

Day two of UE Systems' Reliable Asset World Conference got off to a compelling start with Ron Bitely of Arizona Chemical's remarks on the themes of leadership and finding your "North Star" – the animating vision for your team, department or even company that you need everyone to eventually rally behind.

Generations of navigators have fixed their bearings on the North Star, and a team without such unity of vision will eventually sail off course, Ron explained. The first step is to identify the vision, but it's just as important to communicate it to every stakeholder, including and especially those at the most fundamental level of the shop floor and the bottom of the org chart.

He also emphasized the critical importance of learning from your mistakes, drawing from his own experiences with cultural, organizational and leadership gaps and differences. You learn far more from your failures than you do your successes – and communicating both your own learning experiences and others' development areas is a powerful tool for building a team that rallies behind your vision.

Ron also expanded on the critical importance of safety – without a culture of responsible safety, the upshot of equipment failure and breakdown can have catastrophic operational and personal consequences.

Tim Rohrer, Exiscan: Electrical Condition Monitoring & Electrical Safety Standards

Tim Rohrer of Exiscan dove into the best practices and solutions in the high-risk, high-reward field of electrical safety standards and monitoring. Though electrical incidents comprise a small fraction – less than a quarter of a percent – of all nonfatal occupational injuries, according to the latest research, they rank as the No. 2 cause of lost time injuries and either the fifth- or seventh-leading cost of workplace fatalities. When arc flash related burns and injuries are included, those numbers can rise even higher.

As such, a rigorous culture and practice of electrical safety and equipment monitoring represents a key pillar of any solid predictive and proactive maintenance regime.

Even non-electrical personnel and specialists need to be trained in safety standards, Tim explained, and it's important to establish a continuum of hazard vs. risk. The former represents the equipment or behavior generating the danger – risk looks at both the severity of a potential occurrence and its likelihood.

In the hierarchy of risk control, eliminating the hazard altogether is often the best and simplest way to reduce overall risk.  With substitution for safer equipment and procedures, better engineering controls and clear warnings, risk can drop even further.

Dr. Klaus Blache, University of Tennessee: The Role of Predictive Technologies in Gaining a Competitive Advantage

Dr. Blache of the University of Tennessee brought his insight on decades of research into the implementation and adoption of predictive maintenance practices across multiple industries both domestically and abroad.

The data supports a clear hierarchy of reactive, preventative and predictive maintenance – something we've all learned, as a few hundred dollars in preventing or pre-empting failure can save thousands or millions in reactive approaches.

The research also emphasizes the growing importance of the reliability field, with over 2.7 million jobs in the reliability industry spread across craftsmen, management and engineering.
Predictive maintenance also scales very effectively, according to Dr. Blache's research: Reaching a threshold of 5 percent predictive maintenance only garners 20 percent of the potential benefit, while getting up to 55 percent predictive maintenance as a proportion of the total can reap the full rewards.

Jeffrey Ng, Kimberly Clark: Reliability Metrics – What's Your Number?

Jeffrey Ng of the paper-manufacturing conglomerate Kimberly-Clark focused his session on the value and importance of several key metrics and approaches to metering.
When it comes to reliability metrics, the key questions Jeffrey found were:

  1. Why do we need them?
  2. Who are they for?
  3. Why do we care?

Traditionally, metrics looked at work order generation and completion and the level of delay created in the system by breakdown. More sophisticated metrics examine particular operational parameters like oil consumption (or loss) rate, mean time between failures, and mill or plant vibration levels.

Much of the latter portion focused on a third-tier metric of bad-actor cost avoidance – identifying not only failure points and causes but also extrapolating the cost of maintenance, wasted inputs and outputs, excess overtime and unplanned work.

Jeffrey also emphasized the importance of not over-assuming the cost of failure or breakdown, because the more extreme a hypothetical scenario is, the easier it is to dismiss as hyperbole or a prescription for snake oil.

Dave Reiber, CMRP, Perficient: Do You Have the Right Systems and Tools to Function at a High Level in the Information Age?

Perficient's Dave Reiber examined the challenges of assembling and maintaining an effective system for measuring and continuously improving reliability. Never assume, he explained, that you're getting all the data or the right data – always err on the side of having too much data, because the modern era contains powerful new big data tools to sort it out.

You can't do strategic analysis of data you haven't collected, and new techniques combined with legacy technologies allow you to gather overlapping information from diverse sources at both the mechanical and organizational level.

That redundancy is important, because a single metric, improperly used or implemented, can have cascading consequences for an entire line or plant. It's also critical to assign the right predictive technologies to the right assets, and to develop and present realistic and effective timeframes for return on investment so that management sees the value of sustaining the project.

Terry Harris, CMRP, Reliable Process Solutions: You Win With People

Terry Harris refocused on the personal and leadership aspect of reliability, with a number of anecdotes from his professional experience. Teams can resist changes in leadership or practice for numerous reasons, including:

  • The risk of change appearing greater than remaining still
  • People feeling connected to the old way of doing things
  • A lack of role models for new activities
  • A healthy skepticism of new ideas
  • Loss of status or established quality of life
  • Fear of a hidden agenda behind the change

All of these barriers can and will impede the implementation of new best practices or training programs, which is why it's important to engage teams at every level and identify the strengths and weaknesses of every individual so that programs can be tailored for them.

By examining the skills, knowledge, and attitude of every team member, it's possible to create multi-year plans to address the needs of the team, define those goals in a mutually comprehensible context and focus on current and hands-on training modules.

After all, research presented by Terry shows, $625 of investment in training annually can yield $47,000 of rewards annually to the bottom line.

Reliable Asset World's third year was a huge success! We'll keep you posted with more from the conference in the coming weeks, so make sure to check back soon!

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